Africa’s flagship football tournament the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) kicks off in Gabon on Saturday January 14, as part of our buildup, we profile the various teams involved.
We start with Group A, a group that has hosts Gabon, high flying Cameroon as well as Burkina Faso and tournament debutants, Guinea Bissau.
Previous appearances = 6
The Central African country is the host of this edition of the competition. The team is referred to as the Panthers, hence the choice of its mascot, the Samba. They will be hoping to exceed their best performance of exiting at the quarter final stage of the 1996 and 2012 editions.
With the pressure of performing in front of its home fans, the side had the simplest qualification route. Gabon qualified by virtue of being hosts.
Manager: Jose Antonio of Spain
SUGGESTED READING Gabon names AFCON 2017 squad
Previous AFCON appearances = 10
The Burkinabe national team are referred to as the Les Etalons (The Stallions). The furthest they have gone in the African Cup of Nations is the final but unfortunately they were losing finalists in 2013. That feat came after a semi-final berth five years before.
Their qualification route saw them winning four games, drawing and losing once to emerge winners of Group D. They were in the group along with the Comoros; Botswana and Uganda.
Manager: Duarte Paulo of Portugal
SUGGESTED READING Burkina Faso names AFCON 2017 squad
Previous appearances = 17
The Cameroonian national team is referred to as the Indomitable Lions. They are the most crisis-hit side after 8 top players opted out of the competition citing reasons of concentrating on playing their club football.
The country however has a stellar history at the AFCON, they have won it four times, in 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2002. There were also semi-finalists in 1992 and finished runners up in 1986 and 2008.
Their qualification route saw them garner 14 points to finish top of group M, where they played against Mauritania, Gambia and South Africa.
Manager: Hugo Broos of Belgium
SUGGESTED READING Cameroon names AFCON 2017 squad
Previous appearances = 0
Guinea Bissau, are the freshest boys at the party. They have never tasted the AFCON feeling and will be looking to make it a memorable first at the continental level. The side are referred to as the Djurtus.
Despite their rather poor AFCON record, they managed to qualify whiles topping their group. They finished with 10 points in a group that had Congo Republic and Kenya.
Coach: Torres Paulo
FULL PRELIMINARY FIXTURES OF GROUP A
14 January, 2017
Gabon vs. Guinea Bissau
Burkina Faso vs. Cameroon
18 January, 2017
Gabon vs. Burkina Faso
Cameroon vs. Guinea Bissau
22 January, 2017
Cameroon vs. Gabon
Guinea Bissau vs. Burkina Faso
All fixtures will be played at the Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville except the ‘Guinea Bissau vs. Burkina Faso’ game which will be played at the Stade de Franceville because all last group games are to be played at the same time.
Squad list photos: Courtesy CAF online